How would you feel if you were offered a book of stamps by way of compensation for a lost suit? Or a free meal at a restaurant that gave you food poisoning?
UK consumers have been offered all of these, along with a series of weird, wacky and even insulting forms of compensation to make up for receiving poor customer service, according to research by online complaints handling service resolver.co.uk.
The list of 25 kooky forms of compensation its users have received also includes a bottle of orange juice that had gone off; a book of vouchers only redeemable in the US; and a Crème Egg.
Such examples demonstrate a "staggering disregard for consumers' rights," the company said.
Resolver claims that, based on the Consumer Action Monitor which estimated that 118 million complaints were made last year and its users' experiences, consumers could be missing out on an average £27 each in compensation - or £1 billion collectively - because of their reluctance to make a claim.
A YouGov survey for the company has revealed four key barriers that prevent people complaining about poor customer service. Some 25% of respondents said they didn't complain because of the time and effort necessary to get a resolution and 23% had no faith that the company would resolve the problem to their satisfaction.
Another 18% said they were put off from complaining because there was no obvious way of doing so, and 16% simply didn't see the point as they didn't believe they would secure the compensation they wanted.
Resolver said that 77% of respondents were either very interested or interested in recording telephone conversations when making complaints, demonstrating "a level of mistrust in how companies handle complaints".
Three more compensation fails resolver learned of:
1. 8,000 flying club miles for a complaint to do with a consumer finding it impossible to spend their existing miles as there were no qualifying flights.
2. An energy company offered a £25 discount off a customer's next bill for poor service but instead added £25 onto the bill – which took three months to sort out.
3. A customer bought an iron from a shop that was closing down for £15. It subsequently broke and after the shop had closed the customer tried to claim money from their bank. The bank refused the refund but offered £37 as a goodwill gesture.